A local TD says there is now ‘a clear and present threat to the ongoing viability of critically important nursing home facilities’.
Independent TD for Laois-Offaly, Carol Nolan, has called on the Government to take immediate action to mitigate against it.
Deputy Nolan has been warning of a threat to nursing homes that have less than 40 beds since November 2020.
This was after she intervened with the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, calling on him to address a crisis that had developed for many nursing homes following the exit of one of sectors main insurances providers.
In his reply to the Independent TD, the Minister said that if nursing homes have queries, complaints or difficulties in obtaining insurance, they should send an email to Insurance Ireland.
Deputy Nolan described this reply as grossly inadequate given the nature of the crisis that was being brought to Government’s attention.
Deputy Nolan said: “We now know from data supplied by Nursing Homes Ireland that 14 private and voluntary nursing homes with 411 registered beds (average 30) have closed their doors the past two years and that a further three will be closing their doors in the weeks ahead.
“In the immediate term the reasons for this are related to the exponential growth in energy costs, inflationary pressures and the complete inability of providers to meet the costs that are being demanded of them for the delivery of service.
“In the broader sense however these problems have been ongoing for a number of years now; not least with respect to the massive difficulties which emerged in 2020 when one of only two insurance providers for the sector exited the Irish market.
“This left nursing homes with less than 40 beds at the mercy of the premiums demanded by the remaining insurance company.
“I raised this at the time with the Minister for Finance following representations made to me by nursing homes in Laois and Offaly who were terrified that the situation we find ourselves in today would eventually arrive if no action was taken.
“We now know however, that Government, despite repeated requests for engagement from Nursing Homes Ireland, have brought forward no measures to reduce the burden on providers.
“If this issue is not addressed then families and residents are likely to experience significant amounts of stress, disruption, and increased financial costs in the short to medium term.
“Families deserve better than this. Our older people deserve better.
“It’s high time this Government prioritised care in the community over its fixation on climate change and the pursuit of polices that are playing a material role in driving up energy costs for everyone and pushing older people out into the cold.”
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